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Cuba and Mexico
In a way, Mexico are the two most important countries in Latin America for the US: Mexico because of its inherent importance and its long border with the US, and both because the rest of Latin America judges the US by its treatment of these two countries. Castro is trying to stir up the traditional antagonism in Mexico toward the US, which President Fox is trying to overcome. Raśl Escalante reports: "Fidel Castro just held a press conference during which he read a transcript or played a recording (I'm not sure which) of a conversation between himself and President Vicente Fox during which the latter allegedly asked him to leave the Monterrey Summit on Finance and Development. (see: http://www.imagen.com.mx/).
It is too shocking for me to imagine what the policy implications of this will be. I need to think this through, but it is clearly a declaration of war between the two leaders. Castro is probably gambling that the PRD and PRI Senators will back him up. My gut feeling is that it was a gross miscalculation, very simply because it is such a blatant breach of statecraft. After the scandal blows over (as it surely will within a month), Castro will have another four years of Fox to deal with. I wonder if this will be the conflict that will ultimately tip the scales against him".
I can't imagine why Castro would rationally do this. Is he gambling that a coup would oust Fox? If so it is a laughable forecast. Perhaps he just wants to go out in a blaze of glory. Remarkable times!
Ronald Hilton - 4/23/02